Confused about the different Taekwondo Styles?
Are you wondering which of the taekwondo styles is best for you?
Or do you just want to learn more about the different types of taekwondo and where they come from?
This page covers WTF and ITF taekwondo, Tang Soo Do and Moo Duk Kwan and Chung Do Kwan taekwondo.
WTF TKD or World Taekwondo Federation
WTF taekwondo is the style you see at the Olympics.
The photo shows taekwondo sparring legend Steven Lopez in action.
If you've watched taekwondo sparring and find it hard to follow, we've put together a basic taekwondo sparring video to help you understand what's going on.
WTF is an upright style of taekwondo.
The stances are short and the kicks are fast and furious.
Students also learn patterns, strikes, self-defense and breaking.
The WTF is run from Kukkiwon Taekwondo Headquarters near Seoul in South Korea.
ITF TKD or International Taekwondo Federation
ITF taekwondo is a more traditional taekwondo style.
Stances are longer and the kicks are delivered more slowly.
The emphasis is on using good technique to generate power.
If you learn this style you'll do lots of strikes and punches (hand techniques) and lots of breaking.
ITF uniforms often have a black border around the bottom hem of the dobok top.
You may also have heard of ATA tae kwon do. This is another splinter group of the ITF. It is the the American tae kwon do association.
This group use different forms (patterns) and everything is very standardized. For you as a student this means each school has similar and comparable standards.
And the age old question... which is better ITF or WTF?
The truth is that it really doesn't matter!
They are both great ways to improve you fitness, your physical and mental strength, to learn to defend yourself and to build your self confidence and self esteem.
The trick is to find a good instructor and a good club.
Moo Duk Kwan and Chung Do Kwan and Tang Soo Do
After World War 2 the Japanese occupation of Korea ended. Several Kwans or schools sprang up.
The masters of the schools taught a mix of traditional Korean martial arts mixed with elements of the Japanese arts they had learned during the Japanese occupation.
One of these Kwans was Moo Duk Kwan started by Hwang Kee. And another was Chung Do Kwan. Won Kuk Lee was the first to use this name.
These two Kwans are very different taekwondo styles. For example Moo Duk Kwan uses straight, long arm chambers designed to keep opponents at a distance. Whereas Chung Do Kwan taekwondo uses bent chambers.
Tang Soo Do has it's roots in Moo Duk Kwan taekwondo. There are many splinter groups in Tang Soo Do.